Next year is set to be another packed year, with over 100 geeky events across Australia and New Zealand. But one event that you will no longer find in the event guide is Manifest. After 14 years of being Melbourne’s premiere anime convention, it’s all over.
The exact reason for the closure isn’t explicitly stated in the official announcement on the Manifest website, but they talk about an arms race of conventions trying to one-up another. “It became a competition,” wrote Cari-An who is the current (and last) president of Manifest. “Who could have the largest crowds, the newest games, the coolest guests? It was only a matter of time until people chose to save their money for the biggest conventions.” No events are explicitly named, so they may be referring to interstate anime events – but more likely they’re referring to competition from the big pop culture events like Supanova and Armageddon. Although the ideal would be to have enough space and interest for all of these events, it seems this doesn’t always work out as fans would like.
Manifest was a fan run event that grew out the Melbourne and Swinburne university clubs into something enormous with several thousand attendees. These kind of events require people to put aside their free time and essentially work on it like an unpaid second job. Maybe they just ran out of steam – but a 14 year run is nothing to be ashamed of.